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Posts Tagged ‘Conway Twitty’

Died On This Date (July 9, 2013) Jim Foglesong / Legendary Record Label Executive

Posted by themusicsover on July 9, 2013

Jim Foglesong
July 26, 1922 – July 9, 2013

jim-foglesongJim Foglesong was a longtime record company executive who, for the better part of 50 years, helped countless country music performers become household names.  A singer himself, Foglesong began singing in church before he turned four years old, and by the time he was in high school, he was singing on local radio stations throughout Charleston, West Virginia.  During WWII, Foglesong performed at USO shows while serving in the Army.  After his service ended, he enrolled in college where he studied music.  After graduating and moving to New York City, he found himself working as a session singer on recordings by the likes of Rosemary Clooney, Connie Francis, Neil Sedaka, and Dion & the Belmonts.  During the early ’50s, Foglesong worked at Columbia Records where he helped start Epic Records.  While there, he began producing records. He eventually moved to RCA where he produced records by the likes of Robert Goulet and Doris Day.  By the late ’70s, he was working in Nashville where the list of artists he went on to work with reads like an encyclopedia of country music.  During that time he also found himself running labels like Dot and MCA Records.  In 1984, he was named president of Capitol Records’ Nashville division where he signed Garth Brooks.   Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, Conway Twitty, Reba McEntire, and George Strait are just a few of the country stars whose recording careers he helped guide. After retiring from the record business in the early ’90s, Foglesong went into education.  He served as the music business department head at Trevecca Nazarene College and taught a music business class at Vanderbilt University, both in Nashville.  In 2004, he was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Jim Foglesong was 90 when he passed away on July 9, 2013.

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Died On This Date (February 16, 2013) Tony Sheridan / Early Beatles Collaborator

Posted by themusicsover on February 16, 2013

Tony Sheridan (Born Anthony McGinnity)
May 21, 1940 – February 16, 2013

tony-sheridanTony Sheridan was an early English rock and roll singer, guitarist and songwriter who is most often recognized for his work with the pre-fame Beatles.  He holds the honor of being only one of two non-Beatles to ever be credited on one of the groups recordings – the other being Billy Preston.  Sheridan is also the only non-Beatle to sing lead on a single with them that charted (“My Bonnie”). Sheridan took an early liking to music, and at age seven, already knew how to play the violin.  He soon switched to the guitar, and by the time he was 16, he was fronting his own band.  Within a few years, he was either backing or sharing the stage with American musicians while they toured through the UK.  That list includes Gene Vincent, Conway Twitty, and Eddie Cochran.  During the early ’60s, Sheridan was recording in Hamburg and generally hired pick-up bands to back him on stage.  In 1961, thanks to a mutual admiration, he hired the Beatles, who at the time, were made up of Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon and Pete Best.  Polydor producer, Bert Kaempfert, caught their act and convinced Sheridan to record with them.  The songs recorded during those 1961 sessions included, most famously, “My Bonnie,”  “The Saints,” “Cry For A Shadow,” and “Ain’t She Sweet.”  The latter two were utilized by the Beatles.  The 1st US pressing of “My Bonnie”/”The Saints” is one of the most collectible 45’s out there with a mint copy fetching $15,000 back in 2007.  During the mid-’60s, Sheridan moved his style to a more jazz and blues sound but unfortunately, most of his fans didn’t go along for the ride.  Although his record sales dwindled, he still remained a popular live act for many years.  In 1967, Sheridan went over the Vietnam to perform for the American troops.  During one such trip, he and his band were fired upon, killing one musician and leading to false reports that Sheridan himself, was killed. For his efforts during the war, the US Army made Sheridan an honorary Captain.  He continued to perform and record until heart surgery forced him into retirement in 2012. Tony Sheridan was 72 when he passed away on February 16, 2013.

Thanks to Brett Ortone at Go Aloha Entertainment for the assist.

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Died On This Date (January 4, 2013) Sammy Johns / Had 1975 Hit With “Chevy Van”

Posted by themusicsover on January 4, 2013

Sammy Johns
February 7. 1946 – January 4, 2013

Sammy-JohnsSammy Johns was a folk and country-rock singer-songwriter who scored a major ’70s pop hit with 1975’s “Chevy Van.”  Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, Johns was just nine when he picked up the guitar.  By the time he was a teenager, he was fronting his own band, the Devilles.  After a few records with the Devilles, Johns moved to Atlanta and signed a solo deal with General Records who released his self-titled debut in 1973.  The album’s “Chevy Van” took about a year or so to catch on, but when it did, it became one of the biggest singles of the ’70s.  Reaching #5 on the Billboard pop charts, the record sold more than 1 million copies in the US alone.  It was later covered by Eric Church, Sammy Kershaw, and Waylon Jennings to name a few.  The long list of artist who have recorded songs written by Johns includes Conway Twitty, John Conlee, and Fu Manchu.  Sammy Johns was 66 when he passed away on January 4, 2013.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

Thanks to Henk de Bruin for the assist.

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Sammy Johns

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Died On This Date (January 20, 2012) Larry Butler / Successful Country Musician & Producer

Posted by themusicsover on January 20, 2012

Larry Butler
March 26, 1942 – January 20, 2012

Larry Butler was a respected Nashville producer who, over the course of his career, helped create hits for the likes of Dottie West, Kenny Rogers, Waylon Jennings, John Denver, and Kim Carnes.  A gifted pianist and singer as well, Butler was just 6 years old when he launched his career with a performance  with the Harry James Orchestra.  Born in Florida, Butler moved to Nashville in 1963 to find work as a session player.  Before he knew it, his stellar piano playing was being featured on records by such country luminaries as Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, and Tammy Wynette, to name just a few. By the early ’70s, Butler was the head of United Artists’ Nashville division and producing some of the era’s greatest records.   In fact, it was Butler who partnered Kenny Rogers with Dottie West to record some of the greatest country duets in history.  But it was Rogers alone who he had the most success with.  Hits like “Coward Of The County,” “The Gambler,” “She Believes In Me,” and “Lucille” all had Butler at the helm.  To this day, Butler remains the only Nashville producer to be awarded the Grammy for Producer of the Year.  Larry Butler died of natural causes on January 20, 2012.  He was 69.

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Died On This Date (January 7, 1998) Owen Bradley / Country Hit Maker

Posted by themusicsover on January 7, 2012

Owen Bradley
October 21, 1915 – January 7, 1998

Owen Bradley was a prominent country music producer who was one of the architects of what would become known as the “Nashville Sound.”  Bradley began his career at storied radio station, WSM-AM, where he worked as a staff musician and engineer.  He quickly moved up the ranks while moonlighting as a songwriter.  Bradley’s earliest song of significance was “Night Train To Memphis,” first made famous by Roy Acuff.  He was soon hired by Decca Records as a musician and assistant producer, working on many country hits of the ’50s.  By 1958, Bradley was the vice president of the label’s Nashville division and was laying the foundation for the Nashville Sound.  Throughout his career, Bradley helped make stars out of the likes of Patsy Cline, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn and Brenda Lee.   His recordings of Cline in particular, became the blueprint for those of countless female country singers to come.  Owen Bradly was 82 when he passed away on January 7, 1998.

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